Note: this piece was originally published in the Washington Post, and was written by Checks & Balances co-founders George Conway and Carrie Cordero.
What did the president know about the coronavirus, and when did he know it? What did members of Congress know, and when did they know it?
According to a Post report, quite possibly a lot, and for quite a while: Intelligence agencies “were issuing ominous, classified warnings in January and February while President Trump and lawmakers played down the threat.”
These intelligence assessments about the global danger posed by the virus made the rounds in the executive and legislative branches, sources told The Post, but the American people weren’t told about them. Now Americans should know precisely what their government knew about an impending crisis that would jeopardize their livelihoods and lives.
These reports should be declassified, to the maximum extent feasible, and released as soon as possible, along with the identities of senior administration officials and members of Congress who learned of it. That’s especially true given how Trump repeatedly told the public that the impact of the virus on the United States would be minimal.
A small sampling. Jan. 22: “We have it totally under control.” Feb. 2: “Well, we pretty much shut it down coming in from China.” Feb. 10: “By April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.” Feb. 24: “The Coronavirus very much under control in the USA. … Stock Market starting to look very good to me!” Feb. 26: “The risk to the American people remains very low.” At the same time, The Post reported, “Trump’s advisers struggled to get him to take the virus seriously,” despite telling him that “the virus was likely to dominate life in the United States for many months.”
Continue reading at the Washington Post.